This ad from 1965 should make a lot of you nostalgic- not just for that classic bike, the original Honda 50, but also for that price- $215. I'm sure a lot of you are saying "I'll take two." But what does that $215 in 1965 dollars work out to in 2008 dollars?
Surprisingly, less that you think. That same amount of money, adjusted for inflation, works out to only $1400 today- or about $700 less than a Yamaha C3, or Honda Ruckus or Metropolitan. You'd have thought that 43 years of improvements in plant automation and manufacturing design would have made the cost lower today. Certainly labor costs should be relatively lower; today's scooters are made mostly not in Japan, but in countries like Taiwan with lower labor costs, and there is indeed a lot more automation.
You can't blame the same kind of federal regulations that have raised the cost of automobiles- mopeds don't have seat belts, air bags, catalytic converters and crash-absorbing bumpers. I think what's at the heart of the increased cost in light of all the factors that should have lowered the cost is the higher standard of living not only in Japan since 1965, but over the entire Pacific Rim. Given how our collective standard of living has improved in the last 43 years, it seems only fair.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Posted by michael edelman at 10:47 AM